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Military assists in Boston Marathon

U.S. Soldiers and Airmen with the Massachusetts National Guard muster at the Boston Common

U.S. Soldiers and Airmen with the Massachusetts National Guard muster at the Boston Common to receive orders for a coordinated response, in support of civilian authorities in the wake of the marathon bombings in Boston, Mass., April 15 2013. Photo by Cadet Matthew Feehan, Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs

The Boston Marathon was first run in 1897. Until 2:50 pm yesterday, the biggest news from the nation’s premiere marathon was the way Rosie Ruiz won the 1980 Marathon by cheating. That changed just after hour four of yesterday’s race when two bombs detonated in the crowd near the finish line. The latest toll from the blasts is 3 dead and 176 injured. Among the first to respond to the blasts were members of the military and the military continues to aid Boston police and the investigation today.

Race Preparation
The Massachusetts Army National Guard routinely provides personnel to assist with the running of the Boston Marathon. About 460 soldiers were deployed yesterday at various sites to provide security and crowd control. The New York National Guard was also assisting, with 3 vehicles and six soldiers. Reporter Spencer Ackerman reports that there were two WMD-Civil Support Teams on site for the race. No members of the military were injured when the bombs went off at 2:50 pm, a little over four hours after the beginning of the race.

Bombing Response
Videos from the moments after the blasts show National Guardsmen in fatigues assisting with removing the crowd control barriers so that medical personnel could access the injured. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Congressional hearing yesterday that more than 1,000 members of the Guard had been called up. The Massachusetts Army National Guard has called up the 211th Military Police Battalion, the 387th Ordnance Company and the 267th Combat Communications Squadron’s joint incident site communications capability. This morning’s Boston Globe reports that National Guard patrols are providing security at Transit Authority stations.

Out of State Support
New Hampshire and Rhode Island civil support teams are also on site, joining the New York National Guard. A three member bomb disposal team from Naval Station Newport, R.I. is also in Boston, at the request of local authorities. Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick to a press conference that no additional bombs had been found since the two explosions yesterday, the Boston Globe reports.

No date has been set for the elimination of military assistance in Boston. When the crime scene is reopened to traffic, many troops could be returned to their civilian lives. As security fears ease, the troops assisting the police in public transit patrols can also be relieved of duty. The images of troops running towards the blasts and aiding in the aftermath will remain, as a reminder that the military is always ready to support civilian authorities when needed.

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